Monday, 4 February 2013

Fraser Valley Trail Run Series- Aldergrove Mud Run

Aldergrove Mud Run (8km)- February 3rd, 2013.

Just yesterday, I competed in the 3rd run of the series- the Aldergrove Mud Run! Somehow we lucked out again and it wasn't raining! In fact, it was actually quite toasty compared to the other runs, which were around freezing temperature. It was to the point where after joining Joshua for a warm-up run of half of the course we both debated shorts.. he decided to wear them.. I had none, so fortunately for everyone else I wore my tights and spared the full moon. Hahaha! It's not the Underwear Affair! I did, however, start off in my short sleeve Kintec shirt, instead of my longsleeve. It was wonderful warming up with Joshua Weiss and have that amazing support. We both wanted to kill this race and strategized as we were warming up. This trail was a lot more undulating and hilly that they previous ones- much more to my liking! My mom came out to support me again, which was wonderful! It means so much to have people behind you. The race started and I knew that Olivia had changed her game plan immediately to just stick with me. I wondered about how I should deal with this and decided just to run my own race and let her do what she was going to do. I had been able to burn past her the last few races by running my own race, so why change anything? Besides, that's the beauty of running. It's all about your own race and not what others are doing. We started off with a speedy pace and gradually worked into a nice fast pace. Joshua was on fire today! He set a cracking pace and I just tried to keep him in my sights for the first half of the run. It was a challenging run and I really pushed myself. It was great to not have the frozen ground though and the volunteers seemed much happier as I exchanged thank you's with them. I lost Olivia about 3km into the run and began to run with a few guys that kept a crackin' pace. The trail was really nice- I love being surrounded by trees! There were some uphills and downhills that I was able to fly down that made up some fast time. I was really running this one hard and it felt more challenging that the previous race, but I kept listening to my body and slowin it down a little when I felt too tired, then cranking it back up whenever possible. Receiving the positive encouragement from volunteers, fellow runners and dog-walkers, kept my spirits high and speed fast! They would let me know that I was the first female and, "great job!" The last two km were long, but great as I could feel my calves burning and the final sprint to the end couldn't come sooner! I finished with a time of 32:09, faster than my goal so I was super excited! I was top female and age category winner! This time I learnt my lesson and quickly joined Joshua for a cool down run of the first half of the course again- stopping right away last time without a proper cool down had left me with some TIGHT muscles the next few days. It was so wonderful learning more about him and hearing about his incredible run as he crushed his PB! After returning, I was given such a sweet surprise! Some of the runners I had been talking to before the race were wearing Canada singlets and so I was asking what they were from. The mom came up to me after the race and gave me another one of the singlets!! It was the nicest thing ever! I can't believe it!! I'm going to have to bake her and her boys up some yummy treats for the next race because that was just too generous! The running community is just full of the most wonderful people and I feel so lucky to be able to be a part of it!!

So far I'm 3/3 on wins of these series, which is absolutely incredible! I never thought I would be competing like this. Heck, this time last year I didn't even know there was such thing as trail races. I have to give a giant thanks to the Kintec crew for introducing me into this world and encouraging me to try it. I am beyond thankful for all the wonderful support I have been receiving. It's so great to see all of my nutrition and training showing up in my results! Big thank you's to Ryne Melcher, Eddie Li and Kathryn Gaudet!

Next up: The last run of the Fraser Valley Trail Run Series on February 24th, 2013- the Fort-to-Fort 30km!


Fraser Valley Trail Run Series- Campbell Valley Stomp

Campbell Valley Stomp (10km)- January 20th, 2013

Time for race number 2 in the series! For this race, there was a 5km and a 10km option, so naturally I chose the longer one! My mom came out to support me today- it was really special as she has never seen me race before! It was so special to have her out there for me and be so interested and excited for me even though I know she had reservations about me trail running. Today was the foggiest morning and I just hoped we'd make it in time! Luck was on our side though and we made it! I started warming up and when we were headed to the start line I was greeted by a smiling Sean Baker. His family had come out to this race as well and he introduced me to his dad and brother as we came into the front. They briefed me on the course which was really nice as I had no idea what to expect, other than running the last hill as warm-up a few times. The race started and the pace was crazy as the 5km and 10km runners both took off at the same time! It was hard to know how to pace myself with this and I think a few others struggled with this question as well. Olivia was gone with the wind with the top boys right away and I just continued on with what felt right for me. I was soon joined by Sean Baker and Joshua Weiss and couldn't be happier about it. They are both such great people and I was thrilled to be able to have company. Of course that means just a lil' chatting as we discussed the upcoming Chuckanut 50km race (that they are both competing in and I am on the waitlist for). We maintained a wicked pace though and stayed pretty closely knit. Joshua and I played switchies a lot in who was leading. It was great to have someone to push you to run harder and faster. The course was quite a neat mix of terrain, mostly a flat gravel path through farm land, but very mysterious with all the fog! Then there was a steep frozen downhill section that I let fly on because.. slowing down on hills just isn't fun, I'd rather run like an airplane! The massive cracks in the dirt left some scary jumps and shouts from Sean and Joshua! Then we entered my favourite part of the race- the real trail bit, through the trees and across bridges. The moss covered trees were beautiful! I couldn't help exclaiming about it. We passed Olivia on the last hill of the loop and continued on our speedy pace as I again took off the long sleeve (Sean had been teasing me that I was going to have to take it off earlier if I wanted to set a record this time- as I almost had the race before). The rest of the race was wicked fun and our group carried on making some passes and changing up positions. Joshua put the jets on in the last km and showed what he can do as he flew down the gravel path and onward to the finish! My legs were screaming at me as Sean and I climbed the last hill. Again Sean was cheering me on and I gave it my all. Coming into the finish line I saw my mom smiling and cheering me on saying, "Go Shannon!" it almost made me cry, I finished strong and burning- ouchie tired legs and sore knee, and immediately shared a group hug with Joshua and Sean. What a wonderful race! I really felt that I had gave this one my absolute all. I could feel my body fatiguing in the last km and knew that I had done well. After some frozen bananas and more hot coffee, I was able to meet the amazing winner, Mike Murphy- who is such a nice guy, awards and doorprizes were announced! Top female and age category winner for me again! AHHHHH! So excited!!! When they posted the results later on, I discovered that I had set a course record for that trail!


Fraser Valley Trail Run Series- Resolution Run

Hey Folks!

Sorry for the lack of updates! But the guess what!? Here's a one! Hahahah

Resolution Run (8km)- January 1st, 2013

2013 has started off with a big bang for me! I woke up on January 1st with a jump in my step and the excitment of race day! I had registered for the 2013 Fraser Valley Trail Running Series the day before and it was now time to kick off the New Year.. the right way! After a long drive through tons of fog and frost, I made it to Crescent Park in White Rock for the 8km Resolution Run. It was a beautiful sunny morning, but absolutely freezing! I shared runny noses with fellow runners and ran around like a little bunny trying to warm up my muscles. I contented myself with the realization that the ocean would feel much colder! The race was fast and furious! We took off like a shot for 2 laps of the 4km loop around Crescent Park. It felt great to be running and running FAST! The course was totally frozen- as I stepped on the grass.. it didn't bend.. and it's not because I forgot to eat breakfast and didn't weigh enough! Over the first loop, I started to see the difference between the other trail races I have done and this style of race. It seems a lot more cross country and I was a little shocked about the difference in some attitudes on the course! It took me back to running when I was a kid and people wouldn't let you pass.. this wasn't the trail etiquette we learnt in the Kintec Trail Running Clinics! One of the guys wasn't letting anyone pass him and would try to cut you off when you got close to him and both me and one other great guy, Sean Baker, were trapped behind him.. meanwhile I'm thanking all the wonderful volunteers for standing out in the cold to make this run possible for us and Sean is giving us heads up on hazards on the trail such as logs. After racing into the second loop, it was game one.. I took off my longsleeve and tossed it to the side, revealing my white Kintec Shirt - que theme song! I decided it was time to rev up the engines even more and burn past this guy and the last girl infront of me. I had to play a bit of ninja and squeeze through the corners to pass him but I was cheered on by the friendly voice of Sean who had also been stuck behind that guy with me saying, "GO WHITE SHIRT!!!" It pushed me forward to get that support from someone I had never met before and pushed through the last of the race as fast as I could burning through and finishing as the top female overall and in my age category 20-39yrs! My first victory!! It felt amazing and everyone was really nice! I was able to meet my supporter on the trail, Sean, after the race and exchange congratulations on a great run. He is a great guy and was so nice to talk to! We had both ran like the wind and it was really just such a rewarding way to start off the New Year. BIG thanks to the organizers and volunteers for making the race happen, plus supplying the coffee and healthy snacks after the race! It was a fabulous experience and there are some really fast runners competing- notably the 2nd place girl, 13 year old Olivia! I was shocked to learn she was so young! She will have a great future infront on her!

PS. I was right, the water was much colder! I was able to join in a very special Polar Bear Swim with John Tak and his family at Ambleside Park upon coming back into the North Shore and let me tell you.. diving into that icy ocean was the BEST ice bath ever! It was so special to be invited to join them as I was just about to dive in solo! What an amazing family!